The wait is over! On May 29 Senator Patrick Leahy and Governor Phil Scott joined housing and transportation advocates, local and state officials, Montpelier Mayor Anne Watson and many others to celebrate the summertime groundbreaking of the 1 Taylor Street project.
The site, currently a parking lot, will become home to a ground-level transit center to provide public transportation throughout the City and the region, and serve as the Greyhound bus hub for Montpelier. Housing Vermont and Downstreet Housing & Community Development will build 30 mixed-income apartments above the transit center providing needed housing in the core of the downtown.
“Today we are breaking ground on a project that has been decades in the making. This new multimodal transit center is not just a good project, but the right project for Montpelier. It addresses critical transportation and housing needs while setting the stage for new private investments in our capital city’s downtown. Vermont’s future requires that we increase the vibrancy and livability of our downtowns and village centers and this project does that in a big way,” said Senator Leahy.
In 2003 Leahy and former Senator Jim Jeffords worked together to secure two earmarks in the federal budget and highway bills that directed a combined $7 million to the City of Montpelier to construct a “Montpelier Multimodal and Welcome Center.”
The project, located on a one-acre parcel formerly known as the Carr Lot, is funded through a complicated mix of federal, state and local transportation and housing funding. Sen. Leahy was critical in securing and preserving the federal funds; Gov. Scott worked with state legislators to earmark millions of dollars for affordable housing projects. The project also includes green space on the Winooski River, and a public art exhibit.
“Taylor Street will bring not only housing affordability, but also location affordability to our new residents,” said Kathy Beyer, Vice President for Development at Housing Vermont.
“This project is so important to all the people who live and work in Montpelier,” said Mayor Watson. She noted that residents living in the building will be able to use the adjacent recreation path to walk or bike to downtown businesses and City Hall, as well as catch a bus to businesses and jobs throughout the City and as far away as St. Johnsbury and Burlington.
“This is an exciting time for the City of Montpelier, and GMT is proud to be a partner in this project,” said Green Mountain Transit General Manager Mark A. Sousa. “The Montpelier Transit Center will make a huge difference in the daily lives of Central Vermont passengers and we look forward continuing to improve the transit experience for all!”
“We are thrilled to be bringing 30 new apartments to the Capitol City,” said Eileen Peltier, Executive Director of Downstreet Housing and Community Development, which partnered with Housing Vermont on ensuring the upper level apartments were part of the project. “Critical funding for this project is provided by the Housing for All revenue bond supported by the Governor and the Legislature last year.”
In the coming weeks, the heavy construction work will get underway. Also this summer, work on the recreation path will begin at the 1 Taylor Street site, cross the river on a newly installed pedestrian bridge, and extend to Main Street.